Flock Politics


Typically ducks and chickens can coexist happily in one flock, but flock politics are tricky. At first, I bought five chicks and one duckling, Speedy. Poor Speedy. They knew she was different from the get-go. She was big, funny-looking and had weird feet. They picked on her quite literally. They pecked her until her fuzzy little head was bleeding, and I thought for sure they wouldn’t stop until she was dead. During the first week, I spent many desperate nights on the phone with my mom sick with worry. I tried to separate her from the others in a cage so she could still see them and smell them, but she was lonely and cried incessantly. So I gave in, and tried to reintroduce her to the flock, where they would promptly attack her again and again.

I finally had to tell Speedy that it was either sink or swim, and as a duck, I think she identified with that. Harriet, my Buff Orpington was by far the meanest. She hated Speedy, and whenever she would catch a glimpse of her nearby, she would jump on her and peck her feet and head. Speedy got accustomed to sitting down a lot, as a way of hiding her feet. She also learned how to run fast (hence the name Speedy). The weirdest part was that Speedy loved Harriet and would follow her everywhere. Harriet was the biggest chick and slightly older than the others, and therefore the de facto mother-hen. Speedy also thought she was her mother, and probably still has issues to this day because of it.

Eventually, they worked out their issues and accepted her into the flock. Two weeks later, I got another duckling, Simone. By then, Speedy was far bigger than the other chicks and could throw her weight around. She took Simone under her wing, so-to-speak, and protected her. It was strange how they instantly bonded, like they knew they had something in common. Like webbed feet. In any case, the other chicks didn’t bother her too much. There was certainly an adjustment period, but nothing like the bloody Speedy incident.


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